Businesses unaware of social media legal risks, warns SocialSafe

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Many businesses which use social media for their marketing communications are exposing themselves to unnecessary legal risks due to a poor understanding of how business law applies in social channels, warn legal experts in a new white paper from SocialSafe.

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Julian Ranger, Chairman and founder of SocialSafe.

The reputational dangers of getting social media wrong have been well documented, but the legal and regulatory risks are less obvious.

Businesses using social media for their marketing communications are exposing themselves to potential legal risks because they fail to understand how the law applies to those channels. In a white paper published by SocialSafe, experts warn that failure to put appropriate social media policies in place could see many businesses inadvertently blundering into costly legal proceedings.

The paper, titled “6 Tips for Minimizing Legal Risk in Social Media” warns of the following common dangers faced by businesses, particularly if untrained staff are allowed to manage branded social channels:

1) Defamation/Libel – criticising competitors or making damaging comments about others.
2) Copyright Infringement – sharing copyrighted photography or images without permission.
3) Publishing Fake Product Reviews – might be seen as a harmless bit of promotion, but is illegal in most markets.
4) Not Keeping Archives – failure to keep easily accessible archives of your business’s social media communications could make defending your position difficult in the event of legal proceedings.
The white paper examines these risks in more detail and provides advice for keeping your business out of danger in social media.

SocialSafe founder, Julian Ranger, said “The reputational dangers of getting social media wrong have been well documented, but the legal and regulatory risks are less obvious. This is partly because the law is often slow to catch up with digital trends, and also because there have been few, if any, high profile test cases involving business use of social media.”

A growing number of court cases involve evidence gathered from social media, and it is therefore advisable that businesses create social media policies for their staff to ensure they avoid exposing the company to any potential legal risk.

A full copy of the white paper can be downloaded from the SocialSafe website: http://services.socialsafe.net/legal-risks-white-paper/

About SocialSafe

SocialSafe is a UK developer of software which enables social media users to easily and automatically create secure local archives of the updates, photos and other content the post on social media services such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn among others.

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Lance Concannon
Disruptive Communications
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